The Other Tragic Hero Aristotle definition of a tragic hero is a main character that is not so virtuous that the reader feels outraged, instead a feeling of pity or fear at his downfall. Also, the hero cannot be so evil that for the sake of justice we desire his misfortunes. Instead, he is someone who is neither outstanding in virtue and righteousness; nor is it through badness or villainy of his own that he falls into misfortune, but rather through some flaw. Awoken, in the book Things Fall Apart, is a prime example of Aristotle definition of a tragic hero.
Through Achebe’s use of imagery, metaphors, and characterization the reader is able to identify Awoken as a tragic hero. In this novel Awoken is hard on himself and therefore makes his life much harder. Imagery is one of the many literary devices that Achebe uses to demonstrate Awoken as a tragic hero. “The earth burned like hot coals and roasted the dirt. ” In this quote Awoken leaves his father at a very young age because he doesn’t approve of his father’s ways or his father’s life. This is an example of his hamster which is his anger and temper.
Awoken is insistently hard on himself, even at this young of an age, and never stops being this way. This makes his life much more difficult for the remainder of his life. The use of metaphors is the second literary device that Achebe uses to show that Awoken is a tragic hero. “He brought honor to his village by throwing Mammalian the cat. ” Carter 2 Mammalian the cat is the greatest fighter in all of the villages. This is an example of his recognition by his elders and peers. Awoken fights this man when he is a young man and beats him. Because of this the village knows him as a great fighter.
Awoken pushes himself, even when he is young, to train to beat Mammalian. He believes that for the rest of his life all men need to push themselves, as he did, to be victorious in their battles. Awoken also believes that men need to have the self-discipline and courage to defeat their enemy. Unfortunately, Ginkgo’s philosophy makes not only his life harder, but the life of those around him harder as well. Characterization is another literary device that Achebe uses to show that Awoken is a tragic hero. “Mooney was happy to be leaving his father and going to the Christian school…
Awoken sat in his hut that night staring at the fire, a sudden fury to take up his machete and wipe out the entire church came over him. ” Awoken doesn’t approve of his son’s decision and shuns Mooney from his life. Awoken doesn’t embrace change and is extremely rigid in his own beliefs. Because of this closed minded attitude, Ginkgo’s life becomes extremely difficult to live because of the constant change in the village and way of life. When Awoken makes the decision to shun his very own son, it starts a period of suffering in his own life.
Awoken has lost his loved son and has no one to blame but himself, his rigid ways, and his unfaltering beliefs. Through Achebe’s uses of imagery, metaphor, and characterization, the reader is easily able to view Awoken as a tragic hero. The audience is able to see the protagonist’s flaw and sympathize with the unraveling of his life. Achebe teaches his audience a valuable lesson. Being Carter 3 rigid and closed minded will make one’s life harder and painful to live. Staying true to one’s beliefs without being accepting of others, can cost the loss of valuable relationships and leave one with an empty life.